Destruction Aftermath, Book 3
Chapter 3

Copyright© 2011 by radio_guy

Jen and I had a tent and Janice and Bennie would have the wagon for the evening. We crawled into the tent and lay down. Jen said, "Do you think they will stop the north route and we can work together?"

"I don't know, Jen. Either way, it's going to be a tough decision for them. I just don't know if we should go north. That's a long trip to see what we might find and it's not on our approved list from Preservation. I don't think we should go north. We can look at more land than George's folk can from a boat. I would like to go to southern Florida but it's not a requirement."

"Mike, your dad would want you to explore with George regardless. Let's hope he decides to head south but let's stay with him. One of the important issues for Preservation in allowing us to go out was to meet people in other communities."

"You're right." I kissed her and she kissed back. We loved gently before lying back and falling asleep with her head in the crook of my shoulder.

The next morning, we all woke within moments of each other. Jen, Janice, and Lois started breakfast while Bennie and I loaded the wagon with non-essentials. I noticed George, Ed, Margie, and Joe doing the same on the boat. When breakfast was ready, we all gathered to eat together. As we ate, George said, "We've decided to go south with you."

"That's great." I said.

"More than that, Ed and Margie would like to go with you. Maybe Bennie and Janice would like to join us on the boat." It was quickly agreed. We would take turns swapping out and head south.

Ed said, "We may not see each other much until Brunswick unless we plan it carefully. We will need better maps of the area and have to find docking facilities for the Rose with roads that you can use without too much effort."

Jen said, "We can use the two meter radios to maintain contact. There are three repeaters between Savannah and Brunswick. I tested them and all three keyed up. I was surprised that they continued to work after so long. Maybe there are some people around."

I said, "Either that or someone had really thought out making sure they would last in this area."

We discussed the maps and the radios and we all decided to go into Savannah and check out the port area to find better and more detailed maps. We would plan the details of our trip to Brunswick with them, assuming we found good maps. Ed and Margie would stay with the boat while the rest of us rode into the Port of Savannah. Jen and I would double up on my horse. We could take turns riding in front so the other one of us could fondle the body. After all, we were newly weds!

We into Savannah and the Port Authority area. The docks had suffered over the years but the buildings were in surprisingly good shape. We found maps in the offices as well as in a mariners' store. We had to pick through them but did come up with two sets that would be adequate for our purposes. We left and returned to the Rose and our wagon.

The next morning, we headed out. Our plan was to follow US 17 and meet at the Ocmulgee Bridge if that were possible. It took all day for us to get there with the wagon. The Rose and its occupants just beat us as we had been advised by radio. They had a circuitous route. Half of the bridge was out but the south bound half was useable. We camped on the south side in an old camping ground though there were no services available though it didn't matter. We were not expecting power or water when we camped.

In accordance with our plan, we left the next morning. Joe was riding with the original four of us today. Bennie drove the team and Jen and I rode double again. We headed south on 17 while the Rose headed back out to the ocean.

We followed the road south until it crossed under I-95 and then followed it. Eventually, i-95 would cross back over 17 and we would have to make a choice. As we rode along, we saw no signs of any recent people activity on the road. George suggested on the radio that we stay on I-95 into Brunswick and we agreed. There weren't any good places to meet until then. We camped on the side of the road and got an early start. George was already in Brunswick as the route for a boat was more direct and they went faster than our wagon. We arrived on the second day late in the afternoon after getting on the road early and pushing hard all day.

As we were pulling into the dock area, someone or something keyed the local repeater! This was exciting because that usually occurred when someone keyed their microphone on their radio causing the repeater to activate or there was some large scale interference. Dad and Mom had never talked of that happening by any other method. I keyed the mike and said, "This is Mike visiting the area. Is anyone on the repeater?"

There was no reply and the repeater didn't key again. We pulled up at the Rose and, after dismounting, walked over the the folks off the Rose. George said, "What was that about on the radio?"

I said, "Usually, the repeater only activates when it receives a carrier with the proper tone. Simple interference won't activate it. I think there is someone out there close enough to hit this repeater."

Ed spoke up, "What should we do?"

Jen said, "Unless they respond, there isn't much we can do. I'll give it a try in a few minutes. Maybe they will answer to a woman's voice."

"This is Jen. If there is someone out there, please answer. We are visiting the area. Over."

There was no response.

The nine of us gathered together for supper. We enjoyed our time and talked into the night about our lives in our respective communities. It was late when we doused the fire and went to our beds. Jen and I snuggled closely and went to sleep.

We were the first up in the morning. As we crawled out of our tent, I smelled smoke. It was not overpowering but was faint, but distinct, in the clear morning air. I couldn't see anything just that undeniable hint. Jen looked at me and said, "You smell it, too?"

"Yes, it's wood smoke but from a distance." I held up a moistened finger to test for wind direction and faced into the coolest skin on my finger. I would see what might be mist or might be smoke from a fire. I couldn't say for certain. Jen saw me looking and ran over to the wagon and retrieved the binoculars from under the seat. I walked her way and took them when she handed them to me. I searched for that wisp and decided upon landmarks to help me locate that spot. I handed them to Jen and asked her to do the same. We had done this before and had found it effective in helping us to locate a position a distance away. By the time she lowered them, Bennie and Janice were out and beside us.

"What's going on?" Janice asked.

I replied, "We smelled smoke when we came out of our tent. Jen and I have located landmarks to mark what appears to be the location of the smoke. I think an investigation is in order."

"Okay." Bennie said, "Who goes?"

"Who goes where?" George asked as he strode up to us.

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